Written By: Fatima Haron
Sitting forlorn in a creaky wheelchair, Sandra Elenoi made an attempt to lift her grey, guilt-filled eyes, but for some reason, she could not. The forty-one-year-old lifted her left hand from the arm of the wheelchair to scratch her right-hand knuckles. She had long, dirty nails, which, when rubbed harshly against her skin, caused a few starches to appear on her right hand. She saw some sort of a scab forming and scratched it hard to remove it. As she did so, a few drops of blood started to flow out. Watching those horrific red drops pour out of her skin, she started screaming and banging her right hand on the wheelchair in order to remove from her hand what she feared most, blood.
After two hours or so, Sandra woke to find herself in her cell bed, with her right hand bandaged and her left hand cuffed to her bed. She tugged wildly to relieve her hand, but after a fifteen-minute struggle to do so, she gave up and started humming lullabies to herself. She tried getting up, but whenever she did so, she would fall back due to the short chain which bound her to her bed. Confused and angry, she started to laugh, but with every laugh, came two to three minutes of moaning and sobbing. Most of the people present at the asylum thought she was just being her usual crazy self, but Amy Elenoi knew that the real reason behind her mother’s bizarre behavior was too heart-breaking to be shared with another living soul.
By the time the clock in Sandra’s cell struck 4:00 p.m., two strong caretakers marched in, strapped her tightly into a buckled wheelchair, and drove her wheelchair to the visitor’s room for her once-a-month meeting with her daughter, Amy.
Just an hour ago, Dr. Barrett had discussed her mother’s condition with Amy. He told her that her memory loss due to the mental shock she went through ten years ago showed no improvement and that the guilt from that past horrific event caused her to go into a deadly depression, which continued to aggravate as the years passed by. He advised Amy to try to remind her mother of what had happened that tragic night, in order to remember what really happened and that she had no fault in it. “Only when the patient realizes that she did not mean to kill him, but it was her illness that caused her to do so, will she come onto the track of improvement.” Trying to hold back the despair in her voice, she gulped and replied in a faded voice, “Yes, doctor. I understand.” “Good. I will notify the caretakers to bring her in once the visiting hours begin,” said Dr. Barrett as he went out of the room.
At 4:05 p.m., Sandra was wheeled into the visitor’s room, her face looking pale and grief-stricken, just like on any other visiting day. Her wheel chair was placed on one side of a table, with Amy sitting on the other side. The care-takers signaled Amy that they would be standing behind the glass wall in case anything went wrong. As soon as they went out of the room, Amy made an attempt to start off the conversation.
“How is my gorgeous mother today? Well, you look as radiant as ever, so that’s not much of a question now, is it?” chirped Amy, trying her best to come to the task she was assigned. “So, how about you and I take a ride down memory lane for old time’s sake?”
All of a sudden, a faint smile flashed across her mother’s face, the same warm smile Amy remembered seeing ten years ago, a few days before that tragic night. “Is that a yes?” said Amy cheerfully.
“No need to sugar coat the bitter pill of reality, sweet heart,” spoke Sandra. Seeing a glimmer of hope that her mother recalled something from the past, Amy gulped nervously, and began describing the event that had taken place that night.
“It was late March, a few days before your and Father’s anniversary. You had decided to spend the afternoon baking one of Father’s favorite cakes as an anniversary surprise. Since I was outside, building a snowman, you left the back door slightly ajar. As it got dark, our neighbors saw me playing and invited me to come over and play with Samantha, their daughter. Then…,” Amy was forced to stop, as Sandra interrupted.
“Then, as I placed the cake into the oven to cook, I decided to check up on my daughter. I went into the back yard, leaving the back door open, but I could not find her. I became worried and decided to go to the neighbor’s house and see where she was. Seeing her have fun with their daughter, I decided to let them play and go check up on my cake. As I went out of their house, the electrical power got crazy for some reason. Lights in the house were flickering and I rushed to turn the power off before high voltage got the best of the electrical appliances in the house. After turning the power off, I heard a crash from upstairs, as if someone had broken a glass. The next thing I remember was grabbing a shovel from the garden and taking it upstairs, but why?”
Sandra’s sudden gain and loss of memory encouraged Amy to continue. “When you were young, your mother had a disease that caused her of see things that were not actually there, so she had once smashed a car’s windshield with a pan because she thought there was a man behind it, coming to murder her. Doctors said you had a mild case of hereditary schizophrenia, so rarely, you had similar reactions. Like when…,” Amy was cut off by her mother’s sudden continuation.
“So there was a burglar who broke into the house and was in my bedroom, taking my and my child’s names in a drunken manner, throwing things and tripping over the furniture. I got a shovel and tip-toed my way up to my bedroom. I saw that the burglar staggering, with some flowers and a box of chocolates in his hand. He had killed my husband, drunk the bottle of champagne John was about to bring home and was holding the anniversary flowers in his hands to show how easily he had gotten away with his murder, but I was not about to let that murderer do that to me, so I banged the shovel against his head thrice or perhaps four times until he hit the floor.”
With a lump in her throat, Amy spoke. “It was not your fault, mother. You did not do it on purpose. It was a mistake. You were, well, are sick so..,” “I had to kill John’s murderer and so I did,” exclaimed Sandra proudly.
“It was father, I mean, John, you had hit with a shovel that night, mother. He got drunk when he came home and was heading off to bed, but the lights went out. Those flowers were a surprise for you and...” “And the last thing he murmured before I murdered my own husband was, “But I love you and I got you flowers,” concluded, shocked Sandra.
Amy could take it no more, as the flood of tears in her eyes began to overflow. Looking at her, Sandra concluded sobbingly, “So, it was me. I am the murderer of John Elenoi.”